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Archive for the ‘#coaching’ Category

Choosing Your Lessons and Teachers With Care

Is Money the Only Object?

I come into contact with a lot of coaches these days. Many of them are true artists at their craft and need no justifications to do their job and do it well. But there are others who write long, impassioned Facebook posts about how they justify raising their rates, even, in one case tripling them because, in their words, they only want to work with people who are “…willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.” Unfortunately, these words conjure up a long-ago visit to an EST event where non-members were herded into a separate room after getting a taste of what they could expect from membership in this exclusive cross-section of society. A man stood before us speaking as convincingly as he could, saying that the program was worth anything we had to do to come up with the $200 fee (a lot of money for a college student in the early ’70’s). He lost me when he said “sell your car or your stereo or whatever you have to because you really have to be part of this.”

When anyone tells me I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to buy their program or services I am, as a result of the EST experience extremely dubious. Why? Because the mere fact that they are pushing their services and associated high price tag in this manner tells me it’s all about the money and not about what’s best for me. They are loyal to one thing only; the pursuit of the mighty buck.

Even worse are the ones who tell me to listen to them and do what they say without argument. Excuse me? You’re telling me to simply trust you and your advice because you say so? Without proof of its efficacy for anyone else, much less, me specifically? This approach usually leads to my distrust of anything else that ever comes out of their mouth. I’m a born skeptic and a critical thinker. The combination doesn’t do well with autocracy on any level. In fact, I’m more likely to poke fun at its use, poking crater-sized holes in any argument launched on those terms.

Setting the Right Parameters

I know I need to hire a coach or probably several to help me ascend beyond my current limitations. I also know that I have my own priorities, and nothing anyone else can tell me will change them until I’m ready to change them myself. When the time comes, the coaches I choose will be those who are in it for the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals and release their blocks first. That those services come with a higher price tag is simply a testament to their success with others like me and a finite number of hours with which to work with their clients.

As an Empath, it’s hard (though not impossible) to convince me of a compassionate and loyal heart where none exists. That being said, there will be times, and have been in the past when I seek expertise from someone who, for all intents and purposes is truly in it for the money; who couldn’t care less whether I succeed or fail aside from how it might impact their own credibility. Yet they have achieved amazing success with their own lives, and have learned a thing or two about how it’s done. I don’t expect every expert I consult to have my best interests at heart. It’s up to me to weigh the pros and cons of doing business with them and decide whether I can tune out what doesn’t resonate to benefit from what does. It is not a perfect world, and sometimes, our most useful and long-lasting lessons come directly from our interaction with the imperfections. They often speak to an imperfection in ourselves which needs to be addressed and molded into something better.

Other times, as I’ve told my daughter many times, I learn as much about what not to do from people as I do what to do and why. Closing your mind to anyone who is not on the same wave-length cuts out at least 50% of the opportunities you have to learn and grow. I’m not willing to slow my own progress just because I don’t adore all of the teachers with whom I’m presented. They key is twofold: recognizing the opportunities and understanding where an emotional attachment is necessary and where it is not. Only then can we be open to learning and growing on all levels instead of living in perpetual myopia.

Gratitude. It Brings Us Exactly What We Need.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the epiphanies which came to my more open mind yesterday.
  2. I am grateful to be able to release old paradigms which long-ago stopped serving any real purpose.
  3. I am grateful to friends who are helping me see myself differently.
  4. I am grateful for the people who are being put in my path right now as teachers, guides, and new friends.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, love, challenges, harmony, peace, kindness, compassion, courage, beauty, friendship, honesty, loyalty, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check out Wells Baum’s interpretation of today’s Daily Prompt.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also check out her Facebook page at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

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When Your Subconscious Speaks, Listen!

What’s Changed?

How often have you noticed the impact a seemingly small change makes in your life? It could be something you changed consciously, unconsciously, or by random happenstance. Yet the results are the same. Once the change occurs, things are never quite the same.

Recently, I began experiencing something I never had before, and even now, would be happier to have never gone through it. I started having panic attacks over things I’d been doing for years without incident. The first time I really noticed it was when I was washing my hair and got suds in my ear. My reaction to the impact of a temporary hearing impairment was so distorted and out of character, it only served to make me panic even more. Ultimately, with the soap cleared from my ear and my eyes open, I began to calm down. Yet why was I suddenly experiencing this heretofore unknown feeling? What had changed?

I looked at my world and tried to locate the inciting moment. Yes, there had been a lot of turmoil in recent weeks between plumbing issues, visits with my kids, concerns over getting my business running at the level I wanted and, let’s face it, needed. But nothing new seemed to have arisen.

The Crutches We Adopt

Suddenly, I glanced at my right wrist which had been empty for a week or so. Could it be? Was it something so simple?

Several months ago, my daughter and I had bought negative ion bracelets at a fair. I’d been wearing mine non-stop until just recently when I burned my wrist and the bracelet was rubbing against the burn. I removed it to allow the burn to heal.

When I’d purchased the bracelet, the draw was an improvement in my balance, and it seemed like it was working until I removed it and saw no difference. So I hadn’t been in any hurry to put it back on.

But there’s more than one kind of balance in our lives. Apparently, in me, the bracelet had more impact on my internal balance than I’d realized. Without it, my anxiety levels rose at the subconscious level so they went unnoticed for a while. But the incident in the shower made me take notice and start looking more closely at how I was handling those minor setbacks and concerns since removing the bracelet, and I didn’t like what I saw.

Needless to say, the bracelet went back on my wrist right away. Thankfully, the burn had healed by then with a little help from some aloe vera gel and neosporin.

Some might see this as a crutch, and it certainly is to some degree. Yet the need for it wasn’t planted in my brain. Instead, it appeared all by itself.

Navigating the Environmental Minefield

We are all impacted by our environment in one way or another, and we all develop ways to cope with those influences. Whether you’re impacted by the phases of the moon, the electronics in your home and office, the moods and emotions of the people around you, or something else entirely, you’ve found ways to manage them whether you realize it or not. We all have times when even our copying mechanisms fail us. We overreact to things that wouldn’t normally phase us. We avoid a situation entirely because it is suddenly physically, emotionally, or mentally painful. In extreme situations, we shut down and barricade ourselves behind our walls.

However we manifest those failures, and whatever sets us off, it’s part of what makes us human. We are diamonds-in-the-rough, learning as we go. We stumble and, hopefully, pick ourselves up and try again. Sometimes we even reinvent ourselves. In my case, I’ve spent nearly 4 years doing just that, and am still trying to find the right formula. But each wrong turn, each backtrack brings me closer to the person I want and need to be.

Using the Bumps in Our Road to Reassess

Some of those backtracks guide me in my search for a coach and mentor who will help me get past my own blocks and fears. In the process of searching, I’m learning to recognize what I’m doing that’s getting in my own way. I may not know how to fix it when I recognize it, but at least I can see it’s there.

When I started feeling annoyed instead of happy for people who were succeeding either as a writer or VA, I knew there was an underlying issue I needed to address. Part of it was envy, but the real issue was the underlying reason for that envy.

What came to me wasn’t very pretty, nor was it easy to admit. I felt like a failure. While others were finding success in both of my chosen fields, I was still floundering. So I started doing what I usually do when trying to sort out a problem. I made lists of why I was failing:

  • I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to be and do
  • I wasn’t putting in consistent effort to be whatever it was I wanted to be
  • I was letting myself be lazy
  • I was allowing myself to procrastinate
  • I wasn’t putting time into letting people get to know and trust me
  • I was hardly writing anything except my morning pages
  • I’d let my eating habits crash and burn
  • I wasn’t keeping up with my workout routine any more.
Making Sense of it All

When I put it all together, I realized I wasn’t feeling very good about myself, overall. No wonder something as simple as taking off a bracelet sent me into a downward spiral!

My point in sharing all this is two-fold. First, as has been the case for most of my life, writing something down helps me work through it and find the underlying problem. From there, I can begin to search for a solution. Second, I want to share how important it is to look at what’s showing on the surface and dig deeper to find the real symptoms and causes which brought things to the surface in the first place.

The human brain is both complex and amazing. If the popular myth is to be believed, we only use about 10% of our brain. However, neuroscientists disagree, as evidenced by an article published by Eric H. Chudler, PhD. on his website, Neuroscience for Kids. That isn’t to say all of the neurons in our brains are firing every minute of every day. But throughout our day-to-day life, every part of our brain is engaged at some point or another. Dr. Chudler isn’t alone in his viewpoint and cites several other articles which corroborate his belief. Frankly, it makes a lot more sense to me than the 10% theory.

Tapping into our subconscious is one of the ways we utilize the other 90%, and I’d imagine not everyone listens to theirs given the number of people who claim no memory of their dreams. (I can’t even imagine waking in the morning with no memory of my nocturnal travels!)

So my path is set and my journey continues. You may have noticed a sudden increase in the frequency of my posts of late. That, my friends, is the tip of my iceberg. Stay tuned for more.

Gratitude Makes My Day

I’ve found it’s hard to be completely down if I remember the blessings in my life. I remind myself when I go to sleep at night, whenever something happens to make life easier, and of course, right here. Do you have a daily gratitude practice?

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the gift of writing I was given. It has helped me in immeasurable ways even as it frustrates me.
  2. I am grateful that I can look at myself reasonably objectively and see where I still need work.
  3. I am grateful for dreams that tell me I’m heading in the right direction even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.
  4. I am grateful for the influence and example of friends and new acquaintances. There are some truly amazing people out there with traits I’d do well to emulate.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, motivation, inspiration, gifts, love, friendship, joy, innovation, reinvention, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Embracing Change With Gratitude

Honoring and Appreciating Connections

The entrepreneurial life can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, those who reach out to others are likely to find it easier to build their business, if for no other reason than you can’t build a business without clients.

But connections are so much more than potential clients. They are ideas we might not otherwise consider. They’re encouragement when we’re feeling low. They are the ones who share tips and tricks to help get us out of our latest rut. But most of all, they’re the ones who share in our successes and allow us to share in theirs.

Learning From the Lessons and Mistakes of Our Community

My own community is constantly evolving. Lately, I’ve joined a number of entrepreneurial groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve found some to be great places to hang out, learn and give and take what’s worked and what hasn’t. Others have fallen by the wayside as I discovered they were either not very active or more about the group owner promoting her own products than about having a supportive community. A couple I’ve found to be pretty amazing are Coaches, Experts, Change Makers: Step Into the Spotlight run by Vanessa Talbot, and Radical Wealth Pathway run by Catherine Lee. Interestingly, the groups are at both ends of the spectrum. Catherine’s group currently has less than 50 members while Vanessa’s has over 15,000. This says little about the value or engagement in either group, however. Both women are very active in their groups and are encouraging the members as well as launching programs to help their target audience.

I may not be the ideal client for each of these dynamic women; I benefit not only from associating with them and participating in their groups, but in learning from and engaging with the people they attract. I’m learning to listen to suggestions and plans with an open mind even when they kick my comfort zone in the proverbial butt. Yet recently, I’m also learning I need to be more selective about which paths I choose to embrace.

Embracing Change

In the last few years, I’ve changed my life so drastically, it’s hardly recognizable any more. Some of those changes have been for the better, while others—not so much. I’ve stuck with some for months on end, only to have life’s usual upheavals screw me up, leaving me to start again. (my gym routine for one). I’ve started others, like getting up by 8 AM and stuck with them for a while, only to let those same upheavals have me fail myself again.

From those failures I’ve learned over and over to be more committed to myself and my own success. I’ve learned I need to make changes gradually, but not give up on making them. I’ve also learned that when I get suggestions from the amazing, talented, successful women in my community, I need to put them together on a list and figure out which ones will not only benefit me, but which I’ll be able to successfully commit to.

It all came to a head for me when Anna Shelley posted her #intention in Coaches and Change Makers. She said:

That’s 2.5 years of finally accepting I couldn’t do my old biz any more, going within DAILY, learning the brain science behind transformation, teaching myself clairvoyance, accepting that I am Artist AF and ALLOWING my biz to be a messy convoluted combination that should technically not even work. 2.5 years of defining and refining all of this – journaling my heart out – literally writing my reality into existence.

Her words stopped me in my tracks. For 3.5 years I’ve been listening to a lot of different people tell me how to create my business, promote my business, and structure my business. I’ve felt like I’ve failed myself because I couldn’t get the hang of successfully pitching (except to publications who either don’t pay, pay mere pennies a word, or expect you to pay for advertising in order to get published). I was convinced I was just doing it all wrong until I read Anna’s words.

In a way, I have been doing it all wrong, but not in the way I thought. I’ve been trying to do it someone else’s way instead of following my own heart! It’s a lot like my chili cook-off days when I learned you cannot take the comments of all the judges to heart or you’ll end up with an unpalatable mess. My efforts at creating a successful business had become just that; an unpalatable mess.

Building on Our Specialties

I’ve spent way too much time trying to be a copywriter and VA instead of focusing on what I’m truly good at. I’ve fought with myself over being too scattered when I tried to promote my accounting business and my writing. Anna’s words made me realize I’m very good at both, so why close off one in favor of the other? In fact, my ADD brain loves having the opportunity to switch gears. I’ve even discovered that I have sweet spots, time wise when I’m better at one or the other.

Contrary to my previous pattern of writing from 10PM until 2 or 3AM, I’m finding I write better when I get to it within a couple of hours of writing my morning pages. My creative juices are flowing and the habit of writing is alive and well.

Doing accounting work seems to flow better between about 2PM and 9PM. I don’t know why, nor does it really matter. All I know is that I find it easier to focus and hold that focus for several hours at a stretch after my writing is done, lunch is eaten, and errands or meditation are behind me. Somehow, that’s just when my analytical brain kicks in and is ready to kick some butt and take names.

After a couple of days of giving my brain what it wants, I feel more accomplished and positively energized. While I still don’t have a marketing plan in place, or even a solid business plan, work is starting to come my way without all the effort and strain I’ve been exerting for so long.

Who’s on Your Virtual Team?

We all need a virtual team. Even hermits like me. We need the builder uppers and the ones who show us it can be done despite the obstacles in our way. We’re inspired by the successes of those around us and learn from the mistakes people make before getting back up and trying again. And if you’re like me, we can use a little butt kicking now and then when we let our failures stop us in our tracks instead of seeing the lessons they contain.

My virtual team includes people from all directions; high school classmates (and some from even further back), coaches I’ve met online, artists and writers from some of the groups I’ve joined, and many people who have become friends virtually and live all over the world. They all bring something new to my life and help me grow into my full potential. I’d be so much less without them.

 Giving and Taking Encouragement

Many of those virtual teammates have given me a lot of their time both directly and indirectly. They share articles which shine a light on the darkness of my frustration. They take the time to offer suggestions on how I can regain my forward momentum. The very best thing the do, though is to share their successes and insight into how they got there.

I don’t mean the ones who are constantly yammering on about 6-figure incomes (and frankly, many of those are so young, I find it hard to take their claims seriously). I have to agree with Vanessa on this one, and cry “bullshit”. The internet allows us to fake a lot of things besides just news. So many of these people are working too hard drumming up business to truly be making and sustaining those incomes they claim.

I’m talking about the ones who are as down-to-earth as I am, and who are focused on helping others achieve their goals, get past their blocks, and thrive. They don’t talk about how much money they’re making because they know their ideal client couldn’t give a flying one about their real or alleged income. It has little to no bearing on their decision to hire a coach to level-up their business. They’re looking for a coach who is  part cheerleader, part butt-kicker, and part mastermind. Frankly, focusing on the money makes me feel like just another statistic or notch in someone’s belt.

Some people believe the hype about putting your money where your mouth is. For me, I’d rather see the actions support the words.

Recognition for Your Accomplishments

You have to be your own cheerleader too, though. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to list a few things I’ve accomplished, daily or weekly. At the top of my list is always “made my bed”. To some, that’s a small thing, but to many of us, it is the first thing we accomplish when we start our day, and that’s worth celebrating.

Whatever you might have accomplished, be it huge like booking a high dollar client, or small like making the bed or unloading the dishwasher, they’re all worth celebrating. Seeing we’ve made progress on anything is the most motivating action we can take to accomplish even more. I know the days when I can only think of 4 or 5 things to put on that list give me the kick in the butt I need to re-visit the never-ending to-do list in the days to follow (like today when I’m knocking a couple of past due blog posts off my editorial calendar!).

Gratitude for Things Large and Small

Ending my posts with several gratitudes has become a habit, but it’s also something which makes me feel I’ve had a good day, no matter what. When I forget about my gratitudes; when I fail to recognize the good things in my life, it becomes too easy to wallow or whine. So here are my gratitudes for today.

  1. I am grateful for my tribe; my virtual team and the friends who are sharing this journey with me.
  2. I am grateful for the groups I’ve found where people share their wins and losses, and help each other celebrate the former, overcome the latter, grow, and thrive.
  3. I am grateful for the Facebook Lives I’ve been doing which provide me with an almost endless source of material for my blog posts
  4. I am grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned including the latest; to embrace the crazy, messy, convolutedness that makes me, me.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, lessons, tribes, support, encouragement, love, laughter, progress, inspiration, opportunities, self-love, recognition, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

You can find the associated Facebook Live here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Coaching is a Dance: Sometimes You Lead and Sometimes You Follow

Helping Others Starts With Intention

As I spend more time in entrepreneurial groups, I come in contact with a lot of people who are both selling something and have a desire to help others. Many offer unsolicited advice or a few helpful hints, and I appreciate the time they take to do so. But a couple of days ago, I received a private message in response to a comment I’d made on someone’s post, and the resulting conversation (which admittedly, I should have ended sooner) left me feeling angry and even a bit soiled for the encounter. I thought about revisiting the transcript of the conversation if  for no other reason, to understand what I might have done differently to keep it from becoming combative and from activating my defense mechanisms. I actually did the smart thing this time, and distanced myself from the whole thing for a couple of days.

With new perspective, I realize that while his technique was, for me, offensive, it might have been the voice of my conscience asking, no, demanding to be heard. He didn’t ask any questions I haven’t been asking myself. I simply took it badly coming from a complete stranger who seemed to be sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong. It especially irked me when he told me I wasn’t a good fit for him as a client. It didn’t matter that I’d already concluded he wasn’t a good fit for me as a coach. To have him dismiss me like that…well, it HURT!

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Side of Coaches

In a world where coaching of all sorts has become a huge part of our economy, there seems to be an influx of people showing up daily on social media who are promoting talents and abilities which are hard to prove unless they already have a plethora of clients with proven results. That’s when I wonder why they’re pounding the virtual pavement looking for more?

In some cases, they have a genuine interest in helping people, and are looking for someone unlike their bread and butter clients to satisfy that desire in themselves. In that case, I wouldn’t expect them to be dismissive or cruel if a person they chose wasn’t receptive to the gift they were offering. Others are using a technique I’m seeing more and more, and liking less and less. It involves tearing someone down and pointing out their failings, then offering to swoop in like a fairy godmother and fix what’s broken—for a “small” fee, of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves to support themselves in the style they have envisioned. I simply take issue with doing it at the expense of someone else’s self-esteem. There are better ways to share your services without being abusive about it.

What Qualifies a Coach?

At any rate, the coaching profession has many faces. Each of those faces has different levels of expertise, and certainly, just getting through life with sanity intact is a powerful qualification. Some may have recognizable letters after their name; MFT, PhD, M.D. and more. Others have gone through some kind of certification program offered by yet another coach in their field. I tend to be more receptive to the ones who got at least part of their expertise from the ever-popular school of hard knocks. I find it easier to find value in the words and advice of someone who has actually been down in the trenches where I am now. Someone who has figured out how to climb out and turn all of the lessons they learned into stepping stones to something better.

I guess that’s why, for the most part I’m resistant to having a 30-something tell me they know how to fix my life. There are certainly exceptions, as I know a couple of 30-somethings who have been dealt more crap in their short lifetimes than I’ve seen in mine and that of 3 or 4 of my friends. From those lessons, they, like their older counterparts learned there’s a time to push and a time to step back and let the magic unfold in its own time and fashion.

The very best in the coaching community never stop learning themselves. They’ve discovered a secret I learned as a parent. Sometimes the best teacher of all is the student, be it your child, a person you’re working with, or just someone in the world at large. They know when to be the teacher and when to go with the flow when a role reversal occurs in the natural course of things.

The Road to Coaching Isn’t My Road

All this being said, I don’t see myself in the role of a coach, at least not officially. I think we all assume that role on occasion, even if the only task we have is to give encouragement and feedback. Many times, I’m on the sidelines cheering others to victory and that is one function of a coach. Other times, I’m asking questions or even kicking a little butt to help someone I know get past their own roadblocks. Both roles are ultimately rewarding and I learn a little more about myself at the same time.

My final thought on this subject which, much to my amazement I’ve managed to pursue without major topic changes is that coaches are no different than any other relationship we engage in. The people involved have to be a good fit. There has to be a connection. Many times it isn’t something obvious though in my case, I know I connect best with people who are either empathic or highly sensitive. Some people really respond well to a coach who will beat them over the head with their shortfalls and browbeat them into fixing what’s not working. Others need a kinder, gentler approach. But whatever works for you, it has to get you to the point where you leave your comfort zone behind you and go through some pain to break fear of all that holds you back. Fear grips us with angry tentacles and doesn’t release us willingly. Breaking the suction will lead a few bruises, but recognizing it’s for the best and continuing to wrest control of our lives from those fears comes with phenomenal rewards. But only if you’re willing to do the work and most of all, ask for help when you need it.

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for experiences which make me step back from myself and see how I’m halting my own progress.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life at various places to show me better ways to be me.
  3. I am grateful for the mistakes I make as it means I’m making an effort to do more, be better.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an outlet for everything I think, see, and feel.
  5. I am grateful for infinite abundance; friendship, optimism, friendship, clarity, inspiration, motivation, dreams, goals, intentions, love, joy, philanthropy, peace, harmony, health, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the link to my Facebook Live on Coaching here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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